Baby sleep training is an unregulated industry. This means that there are no government guide lines or education requirements in place to determine who may or may not call themselves a sleep trainer. Some are parents (usually mothers) who teach a method they stumbled across when sleep training their own baby and found it helpful for them, some are child care professionals, others are ex nurses or midwives. I’m not in any way dismissing these individuals, good sleep trainers can come from all kinds of backgrounds.
Qualifications or Experience?
You also need to be aware that because sleep training is unregulated, a “qualified” sleep trainer can be someone who has completed weekend course, a three-month course, or an online course completed in an afternoon. You have no way of knowing. There are some great courses out there, but as yet there are no degrees in baby sleep training. Qualified or not, in this industry, together with knowledge and education, experience is King. Sleep training is not only about learned knowledge. It’s a skill and an instinct that comes with experience. So, if you are choosing a sleep trainer whose experience comes from sleep training their own three children and their friend’s babies, keep in mind that their experience may be limited. While there are most certainly similarities and developmental commonalities, every baby is different and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ method of sleep training.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a sleep trainer is that you must feel comfortable and confident that they can help you. If you have any doubts, or are at all uneasy, keep looking until you find someone who is right for you. You as the parents are the most important component of your baby’s sleep training equation. Stress and doubt will result in failure or a very lengthy and unhappy process.
How do I find a good sleep trainer?
Look for someone who uses language you understand. As sleep trainers, it is our job to sort through all the jargon and ‘buzz words’ and help you find a method of sleep training that resonates with you as parents, and suits your baby. A good sleep trainer will teach you everything you need to know to help your baby to sleep through the night without the need for second or third consults after the initial sleep training is completed.
Communicate openly and honestly with the sleep trainer you have chosen BEFORE you employ them. You need to make sure that you are completely comfortable with your sleep trainer- after all, you are trusting them with your baby! If a sleep trainer won’t call you or Skype you to introduce themselves, (for free) before setting up a consult, so you can get a feel for their personality, then I suggest you keep looking.
Pretty websites and well written introductions or testimonials aren’t going to help you get your baby to sleep through the night.
You should feel supported and confident to implement the skills your sleep trainer teaches so that when and if the time comes, you can retrain your baby to sleep unaided after a bout illness, teething, travel, or any other interruption that can impact a baby’s sleep pattern.